Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson today expressed his sorrow at the passing of Sir Eion Edgar – a leading sports administrator and celebrated philanthropist who has made a significant impact both within and beyond the sport sector.
“Sir Eion’s energy, drive and generosity has been truly immense. He leaves a tremendous legacy and on behalf of all New Zealanders, I would like to extend my thanks for everything he has done and how this has benefited people and communities.
“I also extend my condolences to Jan, Lady Edgar and their family. At a personal level I want to acknowledge Sir Eion for his unfailing generosity of spirit. As he would often remind people we were both Otago University graduates and share our love for the region. Even as a young student president nearly 30 years ago I appreciated working with Sir Eion. We may not have agreed on everything, but he was always respectful and encouraging – I will miss him greatly,” Grant Robertson said.
As a former trustee of the Halberg Disability Foundation and President of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Sir Eion supported many talented athletes to shine. He also played a critical role in the development and funding of Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Edgar Sports Centre in Dunedin – the largest single-building indoor sports arena in the Southern Hemisphere.
“The range of philanthropic causes that Sir Eion and Jan, Lady Edgar have supported both inside and outside the sport sector is nothing short of extraordinary. These projects and initiatives have left a huge imprint on sport in New Zealand,” Grant Robertson said.
“Their genuine desire to improve the lives of New Zealanders meant that their contributions have extended well beyond the realm of sport to business, community, youth, arts, education, the environment and health.”
Sir Eion earned many awards and accolades for his philanthropy, including a knighthood, NBR New Zealander of the Year 2004, Senior New Zealander of the Year in 2010 and being inducted into the Business Hall of Fame. He was chairman of the Edgar Olympic Foundation and a former chairman of the Winter Games NZ Charitable Trust, an organisation he created and helps to fund. He was also founding benefactor and chairman of Otago University’s now internationally renowned Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre.